Rational Dorama Reviews

The good and bad, plain and simple

Series Review: Smile

Smile is a Japanese dorama series which attempts to take on the controversial theme of racism in Japan. It definitely didn’t sound like the kind of series that I’d normally pick up but I decided to give it an episode or two since Aragaki Yui would be playing a major role in it.


Read more of this post

Drama Short: Zutto Mae Kara

Yep here we go with yet another akb48 post. Unfortunately, the dorama scene just hasn’t been compelling enough lately and due to real life issues such as studies, exams and practical work, I really haven’t had the time to go through and review full series’ worth. On the other hand, akb48 has been a nice source of episodic comedic relief and of course pretty faces (that’s pretty important, isn’t it?).

[Aidol]Zutto Mae Kara(Front).mp4_snapshot_01.29_[2011.05.12_23.18.16]

As I’m unable to understand moonspeak to any form of usable degree, I’ve been following groups that provide english subtitles for various akb48 shows which led to me stumbling upon this gem of a film. Credit goes to Aidol for all their hard work in subbing the videos and unleashing them upon the internets no holds barred. If you want to watch this with subs, go to the Aidol website and there’ll be links and a password there somewhere, otherwise the drama short without subs is probably available on youtube somewhere.

Zutto Mae Kara is a dorama short film that ties in with the single of the same name sung by a subgroup of akb48 called “French Kiss” (or Furenchu kissu if you like). This song was used in a particular baseball anime called Major as an ED and so it comes as no surprise that the dorama short uses baseball as a main theme. I opened up the video website fully expecting a slipshod mismash of random scenes designed to gratuitously show off the 3 girls that make up French Kiss but was instead pleasantly surprised by the production values, amazing soundtrack and the care that went into crafting it. Read more of this post

AKB48 YuruYuru Karaoke: Not a Lipsyncing Performance? BLASPHEMY!

Live performances are always interesting; you get to find out just how well your a celebrity can actually sing, perform, improvise and work together with their peers onstage (if any) and it’s usually quite obvious to the trained eye/ear if shenanigans such as lipsyncing go on. I find it particularly eye-opening to see live performances done by idols but so far AKB48’s lipsynced almost every. single. one. This is disappointing but not unsurprising either as it IS rather difficult to keep your voice steady while doing the kind of dance moves they do (admittedly the dance routines are simple and not technically challenging but there’s a fair bit of running around and vigorous movements).

cover_hThen I stumbled onto this gem of an event called the Tokyo Aki Matsuri which features numerous karaoke ‘acts’ performed solo or by combinations of the members. Best thing about it, as you’ve probably deduced from the post title is that they perform all of this sans-vocal backing track! This means we find out quite definitively who can and cannot sing and what the members’ voices sound like without postprocessing hocus pocus. Don’t know why but I enjoy digging up dirt like this on (actually all) performers that I’ve taken a liking to. Anyway, on to how the rest of this post is going to work: I’ll be linking youtube videos of select acts from the Yuruyuru Karaoke segment of the Tokyo Aki Matsuri and adding a few comments here and there. None of the videos were posted up by me because I have no money to get the DVD set (15,980yen…my wallet will create it’s own black hole and Australia will be no more if I buy it) and my monthly download quota will not allow me to Jack Sparrow a copy of the DVD box set either (33GB!!) so if the videos are down, I’m sorry. Also, I will be keeping in mind that all of these are amateur performances when assessing the participants. Read more of this post

A K Be evil–my journey down the rabbit hole that is AKB48

1No, I’m not crazy or delirious but I do believe I’ve been poisoned.

I’m pretty sure you’ve already decided you know what this post is about but WAIT!! This isn’t a fanboy post nor will it signify the conversion of rationaldoramareviews into irrationalakb48fandom. I’m just gonna talk about how I became aware of this phenomenon that is taking over/has taken over Japan, a rational discussion of their merits and why I’m continuing to watch the variety shows they produce.

Now WHAT IN THE WORLD is AKB48? Never heard of it? Well, that’s perfectly normal and understandable if you live where I do (down under) since there’s absolutely no public awareness about the many random generic pop groups that rise and fall in Japan. So lets slow walk through this and join me in my journey down the rabbit hole… Read more of this post

FREE PAPER!–How I Wasted Time in Japan


Not too sure what exactly I was thinking when I decided to do these things in Japan but they do make for funny stories. Read more of this post

Series Review: My Boss, My Hero

aka Mai Bosu, Mai Hīrō


My Boss My Hero is a Japanese drama series that aired in 2006. Apparently the base material was sourced from Korea, of which there is a similar show of the same title that aired in 2001 as well as a novel of the same title. I watched this series quite a few years ago but just recently had the knackering for some crazy lighthearted comedy to cheer me up…which resulted in my rewatching of almost half the series.

Now, if I were to summarise MBMH (My Boss My Hero) in a few words, I’d say it’s shouting yakuza cheese school comedy topped with pudding served by a cute girl wearing a clown suit. Okay that’s a pretty horrible image so I shall elaborate further (cue awkward laughter).

Synopsis: Sakaki Makio, also known as “Tornado” is a tough 27-year-old high school drop-out. By academic standards, he’s pretty dumb. His father decides to force Makio to return to high school to receive his diploma and he asks an old friend who happens to be the principal of a nearby school to admit Makio. If Makio doesn’t graduate, the position of boss will be given to his younger brother, Mikio.

Furthermore, he must pose as a 17-year-old during school hours and in the presence of any classmates or teachers outside of school. If his cover is blown, it would be the end of his high school career as well as his hopes to become boss. Things start out rough and tough as Makio’s violent temper is tested. As the lessons and days go by he learns there is much more to school than just tests and studying.

Read more of this post

Movie Review: Time Traveller (2010)

aka. Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo 2010


In 2010, Kazuko Yoshiyama (Narumi Yasuda) works as a pharmaceutical researcher secretly developing a formula for time travel. When she is left comatose after a car accident, her daughter Akari learns of her mother’s first love, Kazuo Fukamachi (Kanji Ishimaru), from Kazuko’s friend Goro Asakura (Masanobu Katsumura). Believing that finding Kazuo will allow her mother to regain consciousness, Akari uses Kazuko’s formula to leap back in time to the 1970s in hopes of finding a younger Kazuo. Instead, she meets and befriends Ryota Mizorogi (Nakao Akiyoshi). Together, they attempt to search for Kazuo, but love begins to blossom between Akari and Ryota, despite the fact that Akari must eventually return to the future. –excerpt from wikipedia.

It’s worth noting that Akari is the daughter of the original TokiKake film’s lead, Yoshiyama Kazuko, and that the anime film Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (2006) is only loosely related to Time Traveller. Time Traveller does pay homage to its predecessors in a few scenes but there is really no need to go dig up old dvds or the internet for TokiKake 2002 and 2006 even IF the 2006 anime film is highly recommended. Read more of this post

Movie Review – Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesia

The first review ever on “Rational Dorama Reviews” is a rerun so called from the sister blog MechaPot. Just thought that it’d feel happier here and not get bullied by the Gundam over there. I have added some content so it’s not copied wholesale.

Anyway, I watched this rather chick-flick-y movie a few days back and found it to be surprisingly good. Beware some light spoilers (that hopefully shouldn’t ruin the movie) might make it into this review.

Memoirs.of.a.Teenage.Amnesiac.2010.JAP.DVDRip.XviD.CD1-zdzdz.avi_snapshot_00.01.05_[2010.10.12_22.05.48] Read more of this post

The Revolution of Rationality

2716666550_696e2e976b_bIt’s the beginning of the new year and I’ve realized that the climate in the dorama scene is starting to become filled with dead unupdated blogs and stifling fangirl love raves. It’s always “Squee! Kimutaku is sexy and I must watch his next show to admire his HAIR” and honestly, articles like this are simply not useful. What if I simply want to find out if a series is worth watching? Sure, I could jump onto D-addicts and browse the forums for some hints and tips which have been very useful to me personally but it felt like I was a pioneer setting sail in hopes of finding rumoured treasure.

I will be posting up reviews about shows and occasionally music related to doramas or actors/actresses while aiming to present content that is not marred by excessive fanboy/fangirlism. All is in the name of fun though, so it’d be great if people would comment and discuss their opinions!